On Tuesday Baylor University began a new initiative on faith, ethics and public policy in Washington D.C. They kicked it off with a panel discussion on “faith and the challenges of secularism.”
The “Triaolgue,” as it’s called, is named after Robert P. George, an American legal scholar, Princeton University Law Professor, and considered by many as “one of the country’s leading conservative intellectuals.” George has defended traditional marriage in his book, “What is marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense.” He is also in favor of banning abortion as he argues in his book “Embryo.”
A 2009 New York Times article says that “in the American culture wars, George wants to redraw the lines. It is the liberals, he argues, who are slaves to a faith-based “secularist orthodoxy” of ‘feminism, multiculturalism, gay liberationism and lifestyle liberalism.’”
Therefore the Professor’s observations Tuesday are significant. In discussing our culture’s increasing secularization and our response George said, “I think that the traditions of faith and [their] people have essentially three options. One is to capitulate. One is to separate ourselves in the hope that we will be left to our own families and to our own traditions. The third, engagement. That is, active engagement. I think it has to be the third.”
George further asserted that “militant, evangelizing, missionizing secularism” is not going to leave people of faith alone to “raise our own families (and) pass our own traditions.” Then he issued this stark warning “They want your kids.”
This article caught my eye since I began a new series Sunday entitled Home Improvement. In the first lesson, I shared three reasons for this series. (1) The invasion of Individualism, which is an old-fashioned selfishness. (2) The encroachment of secularism that says “God is unnecessary.” And (3) The intrusion of relativism, which champions the mantra “there are no absolutes.”
Secularists believe that “religious considerations should be excluded from civil affairs and or public education. It is a philosophy that says that “life can be better lived and the universe better understood outside any supernatural considerations.”
Of course, this is nothing new. It is as old as Paul’s denunciation of the wicked Gentile world in Romans 1:18-32. These ancient “free thinkers” rejected the evidence for the Creator and became “futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man — and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.”
The text continues to describe their proclivities for sexual perversion as “debased,” “vile,” and “unnatural.” No wonder they “worshiped and served the creature instead of the Creator.”
Thirty-five years ago Tim LaHaye called Secular Humanism the number one enemy of the family. His observations and dire predictions have more than come true in 2017. Secularism that opposes Biblical-based values of morals and ethics have infiltrated our government, the entertainment industry, the media, public schools and in some cases churches.
Robert George is right, “they want our kids.” So, what are Christians to do?
Let’s begin by returning to our roots. To uphold and stand firm in the Bible teaching regarding marriage, morals and ethical behavior.
But it goes beyond our faith. We must reflect our beliefs in our behavior. To set an example before our children and grandchildren of righteousness, godliness and spiritual attitudes (Titus 2:14; Rom. 8:6). To be transformed by a practical application of God’s Word (Rom 12:1-2). To really walk in the footsteps of Jesus (1 Pet. 2:21). And to raise our children “in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Eph 6:4).
We must be aware of Satan’s enticements and educated regarding his devices (2 Cor 2:11). Jesus’ instruction to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matt 10:16) is good advice for parents to follow.
Furthermore, we must exercise greater control of our choices of entertainment, education, and association. While isolation won’t work, we can be discriminating in limiting some secular influences from our homes.
Finally, Professor George’s suggestion for “active engagement” against society’s secular impact is not only practical but Biblical.
Jesus admonished “Let your light shine” (Matt. 5:14-16). Paul penned to expose “the unfruitful works of darkness’ (Eph 5:11). And Peter implored for us to be prepared to make a defense of our hope in Christ (1 Pet 3:15).
Let us do more than “curse the darkness.” Let us “light candles” in our communities.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman